2010 Discussion Post: My Name is Khan, What Made You Ugly Cry and What Made You Giggle?

Such an odd movie. I’ve yet to show it to someone who didn’t end up a sobbing broken mess by the end. Or to someone who didn’t giggle a bit at a scene here or there. The odd thing is, the “sobbing broken” moments and the “giggle” moments seem slightly different for each person.

What is the one moment of MNIK that makes you just break down utterly the very most?

For me, it’s “Allah Hi Rahim”. Just the 30 second opening, when the music swells and you look out and see all these people in Hijabs and Kufis struggling through the water. Such a beautiful moment of “God is other people”, and the message that this community that has received such much hate is turning around and giving love back. I know I know, the set up for it is ridiculous, and it’s never fully followed through, but that one moment is so powerful I don’t care. (and you can donate money now to Islamic Relief USA, which does this kind of thing all the time in real life. And doesn’t really need money because the Muslim community in America gives millions in Zakat every year).

On the other hand, what is the sequence of MNIK that you would cut?

The interrogation sequence for me. I love the opening sequence of being detained at the airport, it’s such a small everyday kind of humiliation, complete with missing his flight and messing up his life for no reason and with no apology. But the actual arrest and torture section? No, that’s too much. Especially considering the film never really goes back to it, it happened and then it doesn’t come up again. There’s a small nice part of seeing the autism community and the Muslim community come together and support him and get him released, but again, that never comes up again? This whole big community activism thing just disappears? Oh, and the torturers are just so insanely evil and kind of dumb that it switches from traumatic and sad to just plain funny. Or maybe I am soulless, I don’t know.

What are your “ugly crying will never recover from the sadness” MNIK moments?

And what are your “this is so dumb I have to laugh and I wish it wasn’t in the movie” moments?

11 thoughts on “2010 Discussion Post: My Name is Khan, What Made You Ugly Cry and What Made You Giggle?

  1. No answer yet???
    crying (even when only thinking of this scene, I feel the tears coming): When Rizwan told about Sam in the Wilhelmina church…a man who in no way is outspoken when it comes to feelings/emotions talks about such deeply loving and sad emotions. Nothing could top this in the crying department. – the contrary to that was on the hill when Rizwan got Mandira’s consent for marriage…so sweet his reaction and Mandiras “marry me”…my heart just went overboard.

    dumb and wish it would not have been in the movie: Not the torture scene because it w a s torture. Rizwan had no idea why he was imprisoned, why he was treated the way those people did – he was like a small kid that is punished in a respective way by adults who t h i n k they have a reason for such a punishment. No, I didn’t feel like laughing.
    My moment of wishing that this wasn’t in the movie was a very loooong moment starting with Rizwan wading through water towards the church until working in the water with his brother and all the other helpers. I’m okay with the idea of going to help “Mama Jenny”, I’m okay with Rizwan helping to survive until support is coming but that could have been just a News report because of the students, with some pictures. It makes sense to me that his brother comes to the place (with Mandira) and I’m okay with an accident that happens the moment Mandira and Rizwan see each other (a timber coming down). That also would give the possibility of the time for a new president and Mandira reading the diary.
    Yet making Rizwan’s activity a 13 min long saga was a bad choice.

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    • Thank you! I feel the same way about being surprised there is no answer yet.

      That Wilhemina church moment is wonderful! See, the Wilhemina section gives us so much wonderfulness, I can’t want to get rid of it entirely. But then there are also so many problems!

      I like your edit of Wilhemina, cut down on the hopelessness part of it, and simplify Mandira’s arrival, and a falling timber is brilliant.

      On Wed, Nov 20, 2019 at 4:39 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Thank you, Margaret (you are in the line of what ShahRukh visioned…at least in the writer Shibani’s remarks)…VFX could have replaced the wasted water and some of unwarranted stereotypes…but also with Karan, ShahRukh eventually respects the director’s vision…although it is remarkable that he did not work with Karan anymore (except the cameo…he still is a nice guy). Karan did not see the faults in KANK ShahRukh mentioned to him and he did not see the faults in MNIK…at least not at the editing table.
        And the way Karan goes, I wonder if ShahRukh would even do his long cherished mature love story with Kajol under Karan’s vision.

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        • I was thinking I could easily do a post of “Shahrukh movies that were overly ambitious and ended up kind of a mess”. Zero, MNIK, JTHJ, Dilwale. For various reasons they were all just too full of ideas to work as one thing. And Shahrukh trusted the director’s vision too much to make it work.

          On Thu, Nov 21, 2019 at 12:15 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I rewatched this for the first time since it came out maybe four or five months ago now. I thought I might like it more overall on rewatch, but the tonal shifts (and the race politics) still really bug me. I find the whole second half unaffecting emotionally because there are too many things that rub me the wrong way for me to stay “in” the story.

    What surprised me on the rewatch, though, was how much I engaged with the brother and sister-in-law’s stories. The one image that REALLY had stuck with me from seeing MNIK when it first released is the sister-in-law holding her hijab to her chest after somebody tries to tear it off. It makes sense that that particular image stayed with me because I’ve lived that reality–I’m not Muslim, but I did spend the immediate post-9/11 years in the U.S. wearing a headscarf and being only dubiously white-passing. And I’ve had family members plead with me to stop wearing my headscarf using almost exactly the same argument that comes up in the movie. So that all makes sense. But this time around I was invested in those two all the way through, not just that one sequence. I had entirely forgotten about that scene where Shah Rukh’s character tries to comfort the brother as he’s crying and that one really got to me while rewatching.

    And Kajol is such a powerhouse in this film–WOW. Some of the material she’s given is miscalculated imo, but she makes something really riveting out of it.

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    • Yeah, that’s definitely a part of the movie I liked a lot – the brother/SIL connection and their position during the events….it is very important to bring Rizwan/Mandira and them together….and it showed the identity crisis for those not affected by the thinking/feeling of someone on the autistic spectrum with a distinctly different perception of the world surrounding us.

      As for Kajol, I’m interested in all those scenes that had been left out in the edited movie.

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      • Yes! The brothers relationship is maybe the most nuanced consideration of Aspergers in the whole film, the way Jimmy struggles to feel love for his brother and Shahrukh struggles to express his love.

        On Thu, Nov 21, 2019 at 3:29 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Maybe there is another version of this movie in another universe that is just about the brother relationship, kind of similar to K3G. That could be interesting, for instance of Sam was attacked but not killed and Jimmy, Shahrukh, Kajol, and his sister-in-law all had different emotional reactions to the event that sent them on a collusion course, until they finally found a way to join together in the middle. Like, Kajol is focused on finding the perpetrators, Shahrukh is practical and wants to fix things, Jimmy is angry, and the sister-in-law is freightened.

      I also love the small moments in the background showing how the sister-in-law is always there and loving, like her surprising Shahrukh by showing up at his wedding and helping him get ready, or talking to Kajol in the second half and trying to make her realize that she is punishing herself by throwing Shahrukh out of her life.

      On Thu, Nov 21, 2019 at 1:41 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Yeah, even though that approach would be less flashier and Karan-y, I think it would probably play better for me.

        I second the comment about the sister-in-law’s little scenes. Another thing that I had totally forgotten was that she was the one who first sought for a diagnosis/clinical support for Shah Rukh’s character!

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  3. Honestly, I don’t ponder much about what could have been done in another way (I do it just for the comments here). Karan had a vision…and although it doesn’t match my own vision, I try to understand his vision (which isn’t easy as I can’t relate to all his motivations…I’m more inclined to relate to ShahRukh’s vision which more than once differed).
    I don’t know why Karan changed his path of looking at the world around with Rizwan’s eyes , but thinking about, it makes sense as he can’t leave his own emotional interests for the interest of the main characters ( his directional work after MNIK tells me that…and at the current stage Karan seems to be, there is no connection between his and ShahRukh’s visions).

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